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Internet users beware: Online scams targeting Seychellois increasing

Victoria, Seychelles | May 21, 2018, Monday @ 17:40 in National » GENERAL | By: Daniel Laurence Edited by: Betymie Bonnelame | Views: 1774
Internet users beware: Online scams targeting Seychellois increasing

The director of FIU, Philip Moustache, said that 10 cases have been recorded in 2018 compared with nine cases in all of 2017. (Victor/flickr) Photo License: CC-BY 2.0

(Seychelles News Agency) - The number of Seychellois being affected by online scams and fraud on Facebook has increased over the past two years, a top official of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) said on Monday.

The director of FIU, Philip Moustache, said that 10 cases have been recorded in 2018 compared with nine cases in all of 2017.

“At least every week we are getting new cases where people are being defrauded. A lot of cases have been reported verbally and have not been put on record as the victims are scared for some reason,” said Moustache in an interview with the press.

The Financial Intelligence Unit revealed that a total of R18 million rupees ($1.3 million) has been lost by the Seychellois people due to online scams and fraud on Facebook.

“This is a substantial amount of money which has been lost because people have acted mindlessly and carelessly most of the time,” said Moustache. 

The director of FIU said that new technology, scammers are coming up with new and different ways to defraud and steal money from people. It can be hard to track the perpetrators, he said. 

The director of FIU met with the press on Monday. (Jude Morel) Photo License: CC-BY 

“One of the common ways is getting messages from foreigners which are telling them that they have won properties and they need to send money to pay for the legal and processing fees,” said Moustache. 

In other cases, people are getting messages informing them that they have won a lottery and need to send bank details to get the prizes and in so doing scammers get easy access to the people’s money. 

Another form of fraud which is happening on Facebook is the targeting of people who are single.

“This happens when people put up their personal information on Facebook. People who are not in a relationship are mostly targeted.  Women usually are victims as they easily fall for the beautiful photos and send money whenever the scammers ask for it,” said Moustache.

The business community is also not excluded from online scams.

“I know special cases where local businessmen have lost millions of rupees after being told by scammers to send their money for the goods they are purchasing on a different bank account to only realise later that it was a scam,” said Moustache.

He said that “the public and business community needs to become more aware of this malicious act as it is difficult to retrieve the money once it is lost.”

In a press conference last year, a representative from the Bankers Association, Norman Weber, said that to prevent loss of money through such scams, it is the responsibility of the businessman to verify the authenticity of the details being sent to them.

In the same press conference, the Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS) said that it is working closely with the local police and the Bankers Association to put in place a programme to sensitise the public on such transactions.

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Tags: Financial Intelligence Unit, Bankers Association

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